A few weeks ago, I told Lynnette that my favorite of Avery’s words is “popcorn”. For some reason, it’s the only word Avery says with a mix of unusual intensity and a strange accent. She pronounces it “pop-cowhn”, with the emphasis on the second syllable, eshewing the letter R for the sound I’ve tried very hard to duplicate in print here. I bring this up because apparently, “popcorn” isn’t just one of Avery’s favorite words, it’s one of her favorite things, full stop.
Tanya, Matty, and Declan gave Avery this stuffed animal for her birthday. Its most important quality, of course, is that it is pink. Avery took to it immediately, toting it around the house, holding it up in front of her, then cuddling with it on the couch. “Monkey” Avery said, we think because it’s on the bed, and the bed is where monkeys jump. “Piggy,” Avery said, we think because it’s pink. “Unicorn!” Lynnette corrected her. “Popcowhn!” Avery replied, we think because Avery doesn’t know what a unicorn is but certainly knows what popcorn is. So I can’t speak for anyone else, but that pink unicorn’s name is Popcowhn from now on.
At Aulani, we bought a bucket of popcorn and Cole had first crack at it because Madison ditched us and Avery was napping. When Avery woke up, she saw the bounty and excitedly shouted “POP-COWHN!” and began to furiously make up for lost time. Giving her the bucket was how we made it out of the hotel without incident. I carried the pool bag and dragged the luggage. Madison held some incidentals. Lynnette held Avery in one arm and the bucket in the other, making sure to keep the bucket within reach of the popcorn monger. When Cole passed out on the drive home, Avery took sole possession of the bucket. Somewhere near Waikele, I shut off the radio so we could hear the sounds of munching coming from the back seat.
Yesterday was Avery’s first day of pre-school and I am told it went off without a hitch. “No one cried” was the official review from Lynnette, who included herself in the summary. The notes from the teacher said that Avery participated in almost everything (but not music class, curiously) and ate well. So well, in fact, that she ate her teacher’s food. I guess Avery noticed that the teacher had a couple of things of popcorn at her desk, so Avery said “Pop-cowhn, please”. As the story goes, Avery was given the cheese-flavored popcorn first. She sniffed it and put it on the side. Next, she was given the caramel-flavored corn, which she ate until there wasn’t any left.
Avery is amazing to me in part because there are so many things about her that I don’t understand. She knows colors. She plays with these four plastic bowls because they’re green, orange, purple, and pink. She likes to call each color out. I don’t know how she got there. She screams “DEDDIE!” at me when she’s upset with me. She also screams “DEDDIE!” at Lynnette when she’s upset with Lynnette. She has to be in a mood to let me hold her. But she also does this thing when I’m sitting. If she can get to my eye level, she’ll stand right in front of me and look me dead in the eyes. It feels like she’s looking for something. I don’t know what. So I smile, and she smiles back. Sometimes, there’s a squeal of laughter. Sometimes she grins and runs off. I like to think whatever it is she’s looking for in me, she can see it, find it, get to it – even if I can’t.